Our baby became a teenager on Sunday.
Every parent goes through the same grieving process when their child is no longer a tot. Where is that cherub-faced, sweet-smelling, chubby-armed baby? She was just here sitting on my lap last week drooling onto my arm, right?
Teens are a whole other entity…an emerging presence who has her own ideas and style, likes and dislikes, you can see what kind of makes her tick now.
I don’t really miss the baby side of my kids. I’ve never really been a baby person. Toddlers start to be interesting because they are talking and actually starting to use their brain as their personal way of discovering the world. They no longer have to divert all of their energy into just keeping their own head from flopping over when they are sitting up.
The stereotype of a teenager is one of a moody, angry, self-involved narcissist.
I don’t see that with my daughter. And I hope she never shows up.
She CAN get sassy, but she seems to save her teen angst for her little sister. I understand that living in the same bedroom with someone younger than you can become tiring, but her father and I DO remind her that name-calling and blatant hateful language directed at the blonde tornado known as sister will not be tolerated. And then we tell the blonde tornado to cut the crap. Because she knows just where the anger buttons are on her big sister.
But, eldest daughter is a kind, thoughtful, happy, optimistic, and giving young lady for the most part.
She’s evolving into a great person and I just can’t wait to see what happens next for her. I don’t want to live in the past with who she used to be. I do like telling stories about her as a littler kid, but much of it is really a blur for both her and I . And her dad. Because she spent so much time in the hospital when she was 5-7 years old. And I don’t want to think of her as that frail, underweight, scared girl.
I want her to live with all of the possibilities of a great tomorrow before her.
I want her to dance with more boys at the school dances (she finally danced with two boys at the Valentine dance her school held) and I want her to forge her own path into the future. A future of possibility. A future of unknown treasures. I want her to get taller than me. I want to see her smile when it’s full of metal from braces that she is bound to get (she lost the last two teeth she needed to lose to get braces at the end of last week). I want her to continue to rock her short hair if that is indeed what style she wants for herself. More teen girls at her school are going short and I love that.
Every mother has a list of wants for their daughters and sons.
I am no different from the majority of parents in this world.
Let’s remind our sons and daughters to be good to one another. To stand up for those that are having trouble standing on their own feet squarely. To always show their peers that a smile and a hello can go a long way to make someone feel good about themselves.
Oldest daughter had a sleepover with her girlfriends recently and they were looking at their school yearbook from last year. One boy this semester has had some difficulties and the words “suicidal thoughts and actions” have gone floating around amongst the students AND the parents in our middle school. My number one message that I shared with my daughter when she told me about this student was this…”just always smile and say hello to him. everyday. if you pass him in the hall or he’s sitting near you at lunch, look at him and say hello.” And I shared the same message with her sleepover buddies when they were discussing his issues while sitting around my dining room table.
Having a teenager is going to be really cool I think.
I know it won’t be rainbows and sunshine all of the time.
But, if we BOTH remember to smile and say nice things to one another every day…
I think we can come through these years landing at a shiny pot of gold.
Her sister’s teen years, though…that’s what scares me…
Zoe and her friends did an escape room the day before her actual birthday. They had a blast and this was my favorite photo of that day…her and her friend Josh busting out a laugh once they had escaped.